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5 Things About Search Network That Will Help You Plan Your Campaigns Better

5 Things About Search Network That Will Help You Plan Your Campaigns Better

The first question you are asked when setting up a campaign in Google AdWords is what ‘Type’ of campaign you want to choose. If you are new to AdWords, you probably either assumed that Search Network is for text ads, Display Network is for image ads, Shopping is for product listing ads, Video is for YouTube ads and went ahead with what suited you the best, or worse, like me, you couldn’t get past this point. So, are these campaign types just about what kind of ads you can show or are they more than that?

campaign types

Also have you observed that every time the ‘Type’ is changed, the ‘Networks’ option below changes as well? What’s happening and what is a Network?


What is a Network?

Google network is a group of websites/apps owned by Google and its partners, where your ads created in AdWords appear. It is divided into 2 groups.

  • Search Network – comprises of Google search + Google sites, which have search options + Google search partners
  • Display Network – comprises of Google sites + Google display partners

Search vs Display Network

Following is a video explaining the Google Networks more in detail:

Due to the way these networks work and the advantages you get as a result, Search Network has got identified with text ads, and Display with image ads. More than image or text ads, the biggest impact of the campaign type you choose will be on:

  • Where your ads show
  • How your ads are triggered
  • Keyword planning
  • Bidding type

In the campaigns menu,

  • ‘Search Network’ campaigns and ‘Shopping’ campaigns use the Search Network.
  • ‘Display Network’ campaigns and ‘Video’ campaigns use the Display Network. ‘Video’ campaigns more specifically use YouTube.
  • ‘Search Network with Display Select’ campaigns and ‘Universal app campaigns’ use both the Networks.

This is the reason why when you choose your Campaign Type, the Network option below automatically changes as well. When selecting an option in the ‘Networks’, all you are doing is just choosing whether you want to include Google partner sites or just restrict it to Google sites.

Unless you want to run an app campaign, don’t try to combine both the networks in the same campaign. Avoid using ‘Search Network with Display Select’ as much as possible. If you want to target both the Networks, create separate campaigns targeting each network, to be more in control of your campaigns.

In this article we will focus on understanding Search Network and how it works.

1. How does Search Network work?

When someone searches using terms that relate to one of your keywords, your ad can show above, below or to the right hand side of the search results page on Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play, Google Groups and Google Shopping. Your ads can also show up on Google search partner websites like,, etc. Any website that has an internal search option can register with Google to become their search partner. Use Search Network

  • When you want your ad to be displayed in the search results page
  • If you want to reach customers who are specifically searching for your product or service

2. Keyword Planning for Search Network

Since keywords are the backbone of your Search campaigns, getting them as accurate as possible is very critical to get more people to click your ads. Do not first decide on the Ad and then find keywords for it. First freeze the keywords for each of your Ad Groups, then go about creating various Ads under each Ad Group. For example if you sell shoes, you could create a campaign specifically for women’s shoes and list out the relevant keywords as follows:

Campaign – Women’s Shoes
Ad Groups –  

keyword planning

Use 5 – 15 keywords per Ad Group; otherwise there would be a risk of losing the relevancy of the ads.

To know more about how to use keywords in Search Network visit Keyword List Building Guide.

3. Bidding Types

When you bid, what you are actually doing is buying the rights to use certain keywords. You will be charged only if someone clicks on your ad, after searching for terms that match your keywords. This type of bidding is called Cost-Per-Click (CPC) or Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

However if you want to focus on conversions rather than clicks, you could look at Cost-Per- Acquisition (CPA) bidding and Enhanced CPC bidding, where you still pay per click but the bid amount is automatically set by AdWords to get you as many conversions as possible.

4. Ad Position and how to improve it

Ad Rank

Despite having worked on your keywords, if your ad is showing way below on the search results page, then this is probably why. Where your ad is positioned on the search results page is determined by your Ad Rank. The Higher your Ad Rank, the higher your ad will be placed on the search results page. You can see your Ad Rank in the campaign statistics.

campaign statistics

If you don’t see this column in your table, you can add this column by clicking the Columns button in the toolbar above the statistics table.


Ad Rank is determined by 2 main factors your Quality Score and your Bid Amount.

Ad Rank = Quality Score X Bid Amount

Quality score Quality score is given from 1 to 10 for each keyword. It is based on the number of clicks, relevancy of the ads and quality of landing pages triggered by that keyword.

  • Click Through Rate or CTR = Number of times your ad received a click (Clicks)/Number of times your ad was shown to people (Impressions) X 100


A CTR of 1% to 1.5% is considered decent. Anything higher is great.

  • Relevancy – There should be a clear link from the search query to the ad to the landing page. For example, if someone were to search for women’s shoes, they should get ads advertising women’s shoes and when they click those ads, the landing page should be about women’s shoes. If this relevancy gets broken, for example if the landing page is about shoes in general, then the Quality Score will come down. It will come down even further if the landing page is only about men’s shoes.
  • Landing page quality – Landing page is the page that people see after clicking your ad. It could be one of your website pages or a page created only for a specific campaign. Apart from relevancy, the quality of your landing page is determined by
    • How fast it loads
    • How original it is
    • How easy it is to navigate

To see the Quality score of each of your keywords, go to your keywords tab and hover over the speech bubble under the status column.

quality score

Bid Amount

Increasing your bid amount can improve your Ad Rank. But this may not always get you a better position, as your competitors can keep bidding higher than you. By improving your landing page or your ad relevancy, will give a steadier boost to your AdRank and you might just end up paying far lesser than the amount you bid. The following video will help you get a better understanding of how this whole process works.

Ad extensions

Ad extensions are extra pieces of information that can be added to the ads. Adding ad extensions will give the people viewing your Search Network ads, more reasons to click them. If there is a tie between two competitor Ad Ranks, the person using more extensions will be given a higher position on the search results page. Also as your Ad Rank increases, the more number of extensions you can show in your ads. There are a few ad extensions that you can manually add, while others like rating extensions are automatically added by Google as your ranking improves.

text ad with extensions

The following video will give you an idea of the different types of ad extensions that you can add to your ads to start with.

Keep in mind that since there are multiple players, your ad position could keep changing the entire day.

5. Ad types that can be shown on the Search Network

  • Text ads

text ad

  • Shopping ads

Even though these types of ads are shown on the Search Network, there is more involved than just setting it up in Google AdWords. You also have to set up an account with Google Merchant Center, with all your products and their details. Every time someone searches for a product related to your field, Google will use the product details to decide which products to show on the search results page. For this reason, shopping ads have been given a separate campaign type and are not clubbed under the ‘Search Network’ campaign.

shopping ad

  • Image and video ads

They can only be hosted on the websites of search partners. However keep in mind that the click through rate of ads on partner sites will not boost your Quality Score. Even though Search Network has this option, use ‘Display Network only campaigns’ to get the most out of your image ads and ‘video campaigns’ to get the most out of your video ads, as they give you more options to manage them.

Hopefully this will help you make the most of your Search campaigns. Try to keep up with the latest news on AdWords, as some of the updates made by Google may affect your campaigns. Happy advertising!

Image sources: Google,

There are 2 comments

  • 4 years ago

    Shekhar Goud   /   Reply

    Really a Great Article .
    It was helpful for a Digital marketing company to plan campaign.

    • 4 years ago

      Pradnya   /   Reply

      Glad that it could help you.

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